New crackdown planned on ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke has announced government proposals to crack down on the promoters of aggressive tax avoidance schemes. 

He unveiled plans on 23 July that included increasing pressure on advisers who market schemes that artificially reduce tax and making it easier for taxpayers to identify such schemes.

The proposals also include strengthening existing Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules, for example by enhancing HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) powers to force promoters to tell it about such schemes and who is using them and making it easier to impose penalties not informing HMRC about schemes.

The government is also looking at publishing warnings about tax avoidance schemes that are effectively being mis-sold and making it easier for taxpayers to identify when they are on the receiving end of a hard sell by a less reputable promoter.

Mr Gauke said: “We are building on the work we have already done to make life difficult for those who artificially and aggressively reduce their tax bill.”

He said DOTAS had already helped HMRC to close down around £12.5 billion in avoidance opportunities and the planned reforms would “place DOTAS once again at the forefront of anti-avoidance measures globally.”

The plans form part of a consultation that will close on 15 October.

Link: Tax avoidance consultation

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